Young boys admit to lighting Long Gully fire

Two boys, aged nine and 10, have admitted to starting Sunday’s Long Gully fire.

Bendigo Crime Investigation Unit Acting Detective Sergeant Mark Crossley said the boys admitted to lighting the fire on Crown land on Comet Street.

The fire started at about 10.05am and went on to burn about 0.3 hectares of land.

Residents discovered the fire within “a couple of minutes” and firefighters extinguished the fire within half an hour.

But Acting Detective Sergeant Crossley said it came close to nearby houses.

“Luckily it was brought under control quickly or it could have been even more devastating,” he said.

Acting Detective Sergeant Crossley said the families of the two boys “were horrified”.

He said the nine-year-old was too young to be charged but the 10-year-old was given an official caution.

If he lights another fire, he will go to court.

“We’ll be putting in place referral services to give him assistance,” Acting Detective Sergeant Crossley said.

He said both boys had been referred to multiple agencies and programs, including fire awareness programs, crime prevention officers and youth liason officers.

Acting Detective Sergeant Crossley said Bendigo police were grateful for the public's assistance. 

He said there were a number of witnesses to the event who quickly alerted the CFA to the fire and provided good descriptions of the youths to police. 

Meanwhile, the Bendigo Crime Investigation Unit is yet to determine the cause of Sunday's Maiden Gully fire.

Police still want to speak with the driver of a dark coloured sedan, possibly a blue BMW, who was alerting residents in the area to the fire.

Police do not believe the person was responsible for the fire, but believe he may be able to help with the investigation.

The fire started about 10.50am in Schumakers Lane, about 500 metres north of the Calder Highway.  

The fire burnt out about seven hectares of scrub and grassland and damaged fencing. 

The cause of the fire is still unknown.  

Investigators want to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious on the day or wish to pass on any information.

Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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